| Namdhari: Cautious
Ranchi, Aug. 11: Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari has formally resigned, ending a week-long drama that handed the Opposition an opportunity to question his earnestness about stepping down.
Unlike last time when he sent a “letter” to the chief minister, Namdhari was today careful to route his resignation “through the proper channel”. He addressed the letter to the deputy Speaker and handed it over formally to the secretary of the Jharkhand Assembly.
On August 5, when chief minister Arjun Munda had called on the Speaker at the latter’s residence, Namdhari had expressed his desire to resign in wake of the Janata Dal (United) leadership’s decision to nominate him as the state party president.
The next day, Namdhari wrote a letter to Munda, urging the chief minister to consider the letter “as his resignation”.
The Opposition parties came down heavily on Namdhari and accused him of being reluctant to relinquish his chair.
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Stephen Marandi and CPI-ML legislator Mahendra Prasad Singh had questioned Namdhari’s seriousness about quitting the chair. They alleged that Namdhari wanted to continue as the Speaker and simultaneously head the state unit of his party.
But Namdhari scoffed at the charges today and said that there was never any doubt about his sincerity about giving up the Speaker’s chair in the wake of his new assignment.
“I had made my wish known to the chief minister as soon as I got an official word from my party’s central leadership in New Delhi. It was Munda who bought time for a couple of days till an alternative arrangement was made,” Namdhari said after tendering his resignation.
Sources indicated that the delay was apparently due to the failure of the BJP leadership to reach a consensus over the new Speaker.
The names of at least two senior party leaders have been doing the rounds. The frontrunners include former finance minister Mrigendra Pratap Singh and state human resource development minister Pashupati Nath Singh.
The chief minister said he would decide tomorrow when a meeting of the NDA should be convened to elect the new Speaker. He did not rule out the possibility of the Assembly having a protem Speaker for the next few weeks.
“I have already requested the governor to appoint a protem Speaker following Namdhari’s resignation. I have not recommended anyone’s name. In line with the convention, the senior-most member of the House will be made protem Speaker,” Munda said. Bisheshwar Khan of the CPI is the senior-most member.